It’s annually a festive event – New England’s most widely viewed sporting event with interest all over the world and it was marred by Monday’s bombings at the Boston Marathon resulting in dozens of injuries and some fatalities. It brings tens of thousands of visitors to the Boston area and someone or a group of people used it to carry out whatever sick agenda they have.

The Boston Marathon is always held on the third Monday in April. It’s a state holiday in Massachusetts – Patriots Day – recognizing the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the first battles of the Revolutionary War.

The first Boston Marathon was held in 1897, the year after the first modern era marathon at the 1896 Olympics in Greece. There were only 18 runners that first year. After a world record 38,708 entrants during the race’s 100th anniversary, marathon organizers have scaled back the number who can enter by setting qualifying standards by age and gender.

Of the more than 23,000 runners entered in this year’s race, thousands were still on the course when the bombs exploded. The rest of the event was cancelled.

For most of its history the Boston Marathon was free to enter and the only prize for winning it was a wreath of olive branches. The first cash prizes were awarded in 1986 after professional runners refuse to enter without getting paid.

As long as it’s been run it’s only the second longest continuously running footrace in North America. The Buffalo Turkey Trot is older by five months.